River Church NOLA
2021 Oct 31 offering Forgiveness
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        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        September 19, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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        Tweens Class

        October 24, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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  • God So Loved
  • Set A Fire
  • The Stand
  • Breathe
  • Intro:
    Values to live by… Last time… Giving Respect
    I have had to read obituaries and introduce people at places and mispronounced their names from time to time… to make it worse, we often try to correct what we did and often we make it worse. Has anyone besides me ever tried to make something wrong … right?
    We are going to talk about that today… making something wrong right. We are going to talk about offering forgiveness. It’s a value that is much needed in people’s live always, and even more today as our culture goes further away from caring about other people.
    Let me tell you a fact. In this life, you will be hurt. It may be what someone says… what someone does and even by what you perceive people think about you. When I mentioned forgiveness, many of you had an instance or a person pop into your mind and remembered the hurt… the problems someone caused. You still make a face when those memories pop up.
    The only cure for that pain is offering forgiveness. It’s the only antidote that will let you get on in your life.
    This morning we will look at why we should offer forgiveness? and How we offer forgiveness.

    Why Should We offer Forgiveness?

    Why should we offer forgiveness to anyone who hurts us?
    In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a story of what we know as the unforgiving servant. tell the story. The story illustrates 3 reasons why we ought to forgive other people when they have hurt you.
    So, let’s look at three reasons we should forgive other people when they hurt us.

    1. We should offer forgiveness because Jesus has forgiven me

    God has forgiven me so much, I have to learn to forgive others too.
    Ephesians 4:32 NLT
    32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
    When I think about how much God has forgiven in me over the years, it’s amazing and it makes me more open to forgiving people when they disappoint me, hurt me… it makes me more inclined to offer them forgiveness because I know what forgiveness feels like.
    On the other hand, if you don’t really FEEL forgiven, you will have more difficulty offering forgiveness to others. If you are a person who has a hard time letting go of hurt, of forgiving a grudge, and moving on, chances are that you don’t really feel forgiven yourself. When that’s the case, if you don’t feel set free from the things that you have doe wrong, you don’t want someone else feeling good about being set free themselves.
    That’s why it’s vital that you have experienced God’s love, forgiveness and his grace so that you can give it to others. When you walk in God’s love and forgiveness and his grace, you want everyone to walk in God’s love and forgiveness and grace. When I think about the fact that Jesus wiped out things… sins that I should have paid for, but didn’t because he paid the price and forgave me… I find it easier to forgive others when they hurt me.
    We (you, me…) will never have to forgive others more than God has already forgiven us. so the first reason we should offer forgiveness is because Jesus forgave me.

    2. We should offer forgiveness because resentment doesn’t work

    Resentment always hurts you more than it hurts anyone.
    If anyone ever had a reason to be resentful, it was a character named Job in the bible. He was the Bill Gates of his day. He was the wealthiest man around and the most famous. He had great character and placed God first in his life. He had everything he wanted. One day he lost it all. Enemy nations came in and killed all of his livestock. All of his children were killed. He lost everyting he had and on top of that, he had a terrible disease. He was living in pain and poverty and the only thing he had left was a nagging wife that told him to curse God and die. Then his friends came along and told him that all of this was his fault. Don’t you love it when that happens.
    Society has done this… church people have done this. If you had enough faith, this would not have happened.
    If anyone had a right to be resentful it was Job. But three times in the book of Job we are told resentment doesn’t work. First, it’s ...

    It’s unreasonable

    Job 5:2 GNB
    2 To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.
    It makes about as much sense as Boudreaux made.
    Boudreaux came into the store to buy groceries. Clarence saw him and said, what’s that lump on your chest. Dynamite. You know how Thibidoux always punches me in the chest. Well, I got some dynamite and I]m going to blow his hand off.
    That’s how much sense resentment makes. When we say we will get even, it makes us do stupid things.
    Ecclesiastes 7:9 GNB
    9 Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbour a grudge.

    It’s unhelpful

    It doesnt help because all it does is hurt you… not the other person.
    Job 18:4 GNB
    4 You are only hurting yourself with your anger. Will the earth be deserted because you are angry? Will God move mountains to satisfy you?
    Holding a grudge will make you miserable and miserable to be around. No matter how resentful you are…
    It can’t change the past. All the resentment in the world will not change the past.
    It won’t correct the problem.
    It doesn’t make me feel better … it just makes you feel more miserable. Maybe someone hurt you a few years ago. Every time you think about it, it hurts and you become angry. Meanwhile, they are going on their merry way… they probably don’t even remember. When you don’t forgive others it’s like taking fire in your chest… it will burn you up. It’s like a cancer that will eat you up. Resentment doesn’t hurt the other person, it only hurts you and those around you.

    It’s unhealthy

    Job 21:23–25 GNB
    23 Some people stay healthy till the day they die; they die happy and at ease, their bodies well nourished. 25 Others have no happiness at all; they live and die with bitter hearts.
    Research shows over and over that resentment is the single most destructive emotion. When you hold onto bitterness and resentment, you hurt yourself with all sorts of emotional and physical consequences… pain in the neck… ulcers… back problem… Have you ever considered that maybe that ache or pain could be from resentment that you are carrying around with you?
    Boudreaux went to the doctor… Hey doctor, I think I have colitis. The doctor said, Boudreaux, who have you been colliding with?
    It’s not so much what you eat, but what’s eating you that’s tearing you up inside.
    Resentment just doesn’t work.

    3. We should offer forgiveness because I need forgiveness too

    I have needed forgiveness in the past and I will need it again. You can’t expect people to forgive you if you are not willing to forgive them. Forgiveness works both ways… it’s a two way street. My dad always told me not to burn bridges behind me… you never know when you will have to walk back cross it.
    Jesus said it like this…
    Matthew 6:14–15 NLT
    14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
    He says we cannot receive what we are unwilling to give. You cannot receive what you will not give. You will reap what you sow. If you sow forgiveness, you will reap forgiveness. But if you are unforgiving, don’t expect others to forgive you.
    A man came to John Wesley one time and said, I can never forgive that person. John Wesley replied, Then I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving you are burning all the bridges behind you that you may need to walk back across… the bridge of forgiveness. You will need forgiveness in the future so you better learn to be forgiving.
    I have heard too many people say… you don’t understand, I’m different, my hurt is worse than anyone… You don’t know what they did to me… And you are right, I don’t know. But god says for your own sake, learn to forgive. When you hold on to hurt from the past, you are allowing that person to control you still.
    I think that when people say, they can never forgive, they really don’t understand forgiveness. There are some misconceptions of what forgiveness is and isn’t.

    Forgiving is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense

    Minimizing says, it’s not a big deal… don’t worry about it… It was and is a big deal. When someone hurts you or your family, it’s a big deal.
    When someone hurts you intentionally, it hurts and requires forgiveness. When you minimize the wrong, you cheapen forgiveness.

    Forgiving is not instant restoration of trust

    Forgiveness is instant, trust has to be rebuilt over time. If someone has betrayed you, you don’t have to trust them again, but you do have to forgive them. They have to prove themselves trustworthy. The bible says we have to forgive people who hurt us, but it does not say we have to trust them again.
    Some people think that if they forgive an abusive spouse that they have to let that person back into the house. NO. that person has to prove they are changed… they have to rebuild trust and in some instances, trust may never be built back. Forgiveness is what you do, they have to rebuild trust.
    Also, only the victim has the right to forgive. You don’t have the right to forgive the hurts other people do to someone else… only they can forgive that. If your family was robbed, I don’t have the right to say, I forgive that person… only you have that right.
    Forgiveness is not a matter of restoring trust.

    Forgiving is not resuming the relationship without changes

    A lot of people think that if they forgive someone they have to let them back into their lives without the other person making any changes. No you don’t. Forgiveness is not the same as a reunion of a relationship. Forgiveness is what you do when you are offended or hurt. But if the relationship is going to be restored the offender has to do three things.
    Repent - real repentance
    Restitution - where possible
    Rebuild trust over a period of time.
    You need to forgive whether they ever do any of that or not. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. You can forgive in secret… without them ever knowing it because forgiveness is what you do, not what they do. Your forgiveness is not based on their response… whether they ask for it or not… whether they accept it or not… whether they even acknowledge it or not.
    You forgive them because God forgave you!

    How Should I forgive?

    When you have to forgive someone who has hurt you, don’t minimize the sin, but you don’t have to trust them again … that has to be earned. If a spouse has had affairs on you or been abusive, you don’t have to resume the relationship immediately until they change and show they have changed.
    When you forgive someone, you need to do these four things.

    1. Recognize that we are all imperfect.

    None of us are perfect. We will be hurt and we will hurt people in this life. None of us are perfect.
    When we hold onto resentment, we begin to hate the offender and when we hate someone, we lose all perspective. When we resent someone, we demonize them and nothing about them is acceptable. We even forget that they are human beings and treat them as if they are an animal.
    Listen, we have all be hurt by someone and we have and will hurt someone. We are all in the same boat.
    Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT
    20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
    None of us are perfect. We all sin. Don’t minimize, but realize we are all imperfect and that the person who hurt you is not an animal… they are someone whom Jesus died for.

    2. Relinquish my right to get even

    This is the heart of forgiveness… giving up your right to get even. Paul said
    Romans 12:19 The Living Bible
    19 Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. Don’t take the law into your own hands.
    The 2nd step in forgiveness is giving up the right to get even. They may deserve to be hurt, but you are not going to be the one to do that. They deserve to be punished, but you are not going to be the one to do that either.
    If you think that’s unfair, you’re right. it’s not fair. God never said life is fair. It will be in heaven, but not here. There is both justice and injustice in our world and we are all susceptible to it. But one day God will settle the score… just not today. In the mean time, you let go of your right to punish the person who hurt you. When you do that, you can ask God to fill you with his peace and he will.
    You ask, how often do I have to release the person? Whenever the memory comes back, you have to release them. Look what Jesus said about how often.
    Matthew 18:21–22 NLT
    21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
    Every time you remember the hurt, you must forgive them again until you know you’ve released them. Forgiveness is not a one time thing and it’s over. It’s a process that takes a while. You can forgive someone and 5 minutes later want to get even… then you give it back to the Lord and release them again… until you no longer think about it.
    Now listen - it’s not always possible or advisable to go back to the person who has hurt you. they be unaware they ever hurt you. They may have changed… remarried… it may make matters worse. When that is the case, don’t go to the person who hurt you. You let it go. empty chair … write a letter.
    You release them so you can be free.

    3. Respond to evil with good.

    You know that you have forgiven someone fully when you can understand their hurt and you can pray for God to bless them and heal them. You stop praying for God to hit them with a truck and begin to pray for good tings to happen in their lives.
    Luke 6:27–29 NLT
    27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.
    Have you ever thought about how that’s possible? How is it possible to give after someone has taken? Humanely speaking, you can’t do this.
    You have to ask Gd to fill your heart with love. Why love? Because…
    1 Corinthians 13:5 NLT
    5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
    When you are filled with love, you are not keeping a record of wrongs. When you are filled with hate you keep up with every wrong. That means if you are keeping a record, you are not filled with love, you are filled with bitterness and unforgiveness. So if you are acting in love, you are not keeping a record of all the things the person did wrong.
    Now, if you want to experience the freedom of forgiveness there is a 4th step you have to take.

    4. Refocus on God’s purpose for your life

    As long as you focus on someone you resent, they are controlling your life. If you do not release them, and you hold onto the resentment, they still control you, but you WILL become like them. How do you refocus on God’s purpose for your life?

    3 Steps to refocusing your life

    Job 11:13–16 GNB
    13 Put your heart right, Job. Reach out to God. 14 Put away evil and wrong from your home. 15 Then face the world again, firm and courageous. 16 Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.

    1. Put your heart right

    Release and forgive the person who hurt you. Maybe you don’t feel like it… do it anyway. If you don’t you are the one who will be miserable.

    2. Reach out to God for help

    This means first… invite Jesus into your life as Savior and Lord. You cannot manufacture enough forgiveness to do good to those who hurt you. Accept Jesus and then ask for his power to help you forgive. You may have to forgive and ask God for help hundreds of times each day, and he will help you when you ask.

    3. Face the world again

    Don’t withdraw into a shell. Don’t build up walls so that you don’t get hurt again. Don’t say you will never let someone close to you because you don’t want to be hurt again. It doesn’t work.
    Start living again. Say it until yo mean it… I am not a victim and with Jesus power in me, I am going to start living again.
    When you do these, look at what it says…
    Job 11:16 GNB
    16 Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.
    What hurt are you holding onto today that you need to let go of… that you would like to be free from?
    Your troubles will fade. Wouldn’t you like that? For that hurt to fade? It will if you do what God says? Raise hands… come forward… pray over people as a group...
    God, I admit I've been hurt by others... and my resentment has made me act in ways that have been unreasonable, unhelpful, and unhealthy. Give me the power to Release and forgive those who've hurt me so I can stop letting them control me. Please replace my hurt with the peace of Jesus Christ.
    AND GOD... I realize I've hurt others -with my habits and hangups. Help me make a list of those I've harmed ... and in the right way, at the right time, to humbly seek to make amends. Jesus Christ I want to refocus my life on you and face the future courageously. I am reaching out to you today to be #1 in my life. I want you to put my heart right. I and I ask that you help me face the world again so that memory will fade. Jesus, come into my life and as best as I can, I give you control of my life to lead and guide me and to fill me with your love.
      • Ephesians 4:32TLB

      • Job 5:2TLB

      • Ecclesiastes 7:9TLB

      • Job 18:4TLB

      • Job 21:23–25TLB

      • Matthew 6:14–15TLB

      • Ecclesiastes 7:20TLB

      • Romans 12:19TLB

      • Matthew 18:21–22TLB

      • Luke 6:27–29TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 13:5TLB

      • Job 11:13–16TLB

      • Job 11:16TLB

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